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Olle Baertling (1911-1981), in search of the Open Form

Baertling is hardly known outside Scandinavia. He had the occasional exhibition in Switzerland at the von Barth gallery ( catalogue available at www.ftn-books.com) but that’s it, but look at auction results from the last decade of Baertling paintings and you will notice that prices are on the rise and not only because there is a raised interest in his works from Sweden. After the large Retrospective exhibition in the Moderna Museet, people began to notice his works and appreciate them.

Schermafbeelding 2018-02-21 om 10.03.18

They recognized in them the link between Modern constructivist art and architecture. This is what i noticed myself when i first encountered a book on Baertling 2 years ago. This is not an artist for the masses, but see one of his paintings or sculptures and you certainly will be impressed. This is constructivist art in “optima forma” with a highly personal approach. Impressive and his sculptures of thin materials seems to vanish in the air. Not being there, but at the same time present.

Schermafbeelding 2018-02-21 om 10.03.38

In memory of 
Olle Bærtling
There is one Swedish artist who has made an entirely original contribution to the art of our time, comparable with the foremost masters of modern art history, and that is Olle Bærtling. It is all too easy to use presumptuous words on a matter like this. And yet, I wish to maintain that Bærtling, with his ‘open form’ and his ‘two-dimensional sculptures’, is the only Swede-besides Viking Eggeling, whose achievement came to a stop at its very beginning-who has added something unique to the store of forms available to art. His work of the last three decades has an innovative quality and an international range which may be compared – mutatis mutandis – with the finest achievements of scholarly research. It is not by chance that his works have found a place in many universities around the world.
 
Gunnar Berefelt 
Doctor of Philosophy, Professor emeritus of the History of Art at the University of Stockholm
Here is what Baertling had to say on his approach of OPEN FORM
“Invisible wealth is to be found in open form. 

It radiates a compressed concentration of highly-charged power that is transformed with suggestive radiant force into infinite space in strong dynamics and unknown dimensions. Art at its most sublime is a hymn of praise to creation, an invisible but ever-present force. 
A sense of the infinite, a flight to an invisible destination. 
A positive change of man’s inner life, a realization of his world of ideas. An intellectualization, a visualization of the positive source of creative power, a visualization of its ethereal beauty.”

Olle Bærtling

baertling